365 Days of Prayer – Day 3 for Water

When my husband Alan and I moved on to the land here, we quickly learned that the Nature spirits are alive and well. Among the first to introduce herself to us, was the Angel of the Creek flowing behind our home. I will call her Creek Woman, because her essence feels feminine, and there is a masculine counterpart to her work. Creek Woman has taught us about working with the element of water. I would meditate by fixing my gaze on the water flowing by. The practice taught me about water, how to move with water, about my emotions, and also taught me reverence for water.

Without water we could not live. We drink it, we bathe in it, we wash our bodies and our dishes in it, we use it in our cooking, for cleaning our cars, homes, and washing our dogs. No organic being can survive without water. Water cleanses us from the inside out as well, keeping us healthy.

Unappreciative of all this, many people take water for granted. Water is contaminated through polluting, through dumping chemicals, through fracking, through many ways that have begun to come back to humanity, hurting ourselves in the process.

Creek Woman has told me that water likes to be sung to. Water can take our prayers to heaven in a similar way to the burning of Sacred plants like Tobacco, Sage, and Mugwort. Water does this when it rises as fog in the morning hours. In fact morning is a good time to pray, before the concerns of the day take the calm of our night’s sleep away. Or conversely, morning is a great time to talk to the waters about the worries that emerged during the night.

The words to this spoken or sung prayer came from a young musician whose name I have forgotten. She shared these words at a Medicine Circle held by Barbara Three Crow in Red Hook, NY over ten years ago. If she sees these words and claims them I will give her credit here. I thank her for her offering that I share with the waters.

Love and gratitude to the water,

Love and gratitude to the water,

Love and gratitude, love and gratitude to the water.

Book Review: Winds of Spirit

Ever since the day I sought to meet the Holy, and the wind came up on a still day, the wind has been a special comfort to me. For Christians, the Holy Spirit is the Comforter; since “spirit” means “breath,” I have associated the Holy Spirit with Divine Wind. So that when I came across Renee Baribeau online, I began to follow her work. Renee is the Hay House author of Winds of Spirit.

Winds of Spirit is a original and unique book. Renee got the idea one day to follow creation stories and discovered that the Creator gods were often wind gods. Renee identifies the types of winds and how they affect living on a daily basis. Tailwinds, crosswinds, and headwinds among others can affect our moods, our patterns, and shape our creativity in art, craft, business, and avocations. Renee provides exercises for working with the winds in ways that enhance spiritual growth from identifying and clearing resistances to change that occur in the body to manifesting what you need. Renee teaches ways to work toward your authentic self.

Wind Knots, Wind Whistling, and using the Winds to clear resistance from your life, or seeking spiritual counsel from the 32 Wind gods and goddesses at the back of her book  are other practices. Available to enhance your practice with Winds of Spirit are a Wind Bag of cards with the names of these winds and a Wind Whistle, which can be used to call in the Four Directions, grounding yourself, and healing, here.

I’ve been fortunate to study with  Renee Baribeau through her online Spring and Fall Wind Mastery classes, and her Winds of Spirit class at Omega in August 2019. You can find her on Facebook on the Wind Clan page, on The Shaman’s Cave (a podcast she hosts with Sandra Ingerman), or at The Practical Shaman. Community YOUniversity is a place you can join on Facebook to have a truly supportive and loving community. Weekly video conferences with Renee’s students exist for continued engagement.Winds of Spirit has given me additional tools to use in my healing and divination practices, and is a practical addition to my library. All in all, I believe that Winds of Spirit is a book that belongs on the book shelf of every shamanic practitioner and healer.




Autumn Night By The Fire

The sound of the leaves falling all around, the changing smells of the season, the cooler and cloudier days, and the shortening hours of daylight speak to me of a time coming to slow down, cocoon, and self nurture. I have taken an evening to hermit beside my very own campfire. The smell of the wood smoke takes me back into my childhood when the family would visit Dad’s Uncle August and Aunt Clara, and we small children would be forgiven for running and diving into the newly raked leaves.

Flash forward, and I am my own adult now. The leaves are falling down upon me and my little fire, and I look upward, seeing the silhouettes of the treetops, and the sky has cleared and there are stars all around. The owls who nest in the pines call overhead. I feel grateful in this moment for the way my life is forming around me and a reverence for the Natural world. There is more gratitude than I can express, even in prayer to the elements, so I let my heart do the talking with a depth of emotion best expressed in the silence of inward directed prayer. I look toward the house with its welcoming electric lights and my husband within. We have created a life here for ourselves, together, but there is something primeval and fierce about my presence at the fire tonight that I need. The need for reverence demands expression, and I am heeding its siren call. It feels healing to sit out in the night and let go of old ways of thought and belief patterns that no longer serve me and open inner space to something new.

Knowledge arrives in vicarious ways. I am primarily Spirit-led, but I meet people. When I am with like-minded shamanic practitioners, we share knowledge, and we speak a common language of the heart. Time spent learning from the Elements is a key way of shamanic teaching. I have worked with Earth, Fire, and Water. This past summer I spent a week with Renee Baribeau, author of the Winds of Spirit, at Omega Institute, working with the Winds. I have begun the work of studying how the elements combine in me, and it is bringing me home to my self.

Daily life is full of demands for my attention between the job and the details of simply living. Any moment of stopping my attention from the activities of the world is likely to be interrupted by the phone or the needs of my job. But here, alone under the trees and the stars and the night, the love I feel for the land can awaken, and I find pleasure in my own company again. I imagine my ancestors taking a moment like this as they struggled to live and raise families, and I feel such love for them too – my roots.

Surround sound of the flowing waters, the leaves falling with a whisper, the wind caressing my cheek, the black earth under my feet as I fire dance with the Black Swan drum, and intentional sensation to my breath and my own heartbeat. Even as I move heartbeat by heartbeat, I am still within. The Beauty that I feel and sense all around me invites me into Itself, a timeless archetypal quality that graces me in a space-time moment of transcendence into an awareness of All That Is.

I am humbled and grateful. In these moments I begin to pray, and I know I am heard, because I feel the awareness gathering of the local spirits I work with – the mountains, creek and land vettir. I pray for blessings on all who make this valley home, and I pray for blessings for this precious Pachamama, our Earth. I pray for myself and my home, for sustenance in this year ahead, this year that is just turning again according to the old calendar at Samhain, and I pray for my dead. For it is through them that my own life has arisen and been bought and paid for.

Sitting beside my little fire, mindfully nurturing its light with each twig and branch, is a time to honor all my relations, and to discern where I have been remiss in my attention and what rectification is needful. In coming home to myself I also take responsibility for my footprint in the world, and how to walk my talk with integrity and satisfaction.

When my time at the fire comes to a close, I linger beside the embers, their gay twinkling serving to bring me up from deep introspection and back into the waking world. I take another moment for gratitude, and then I spread the coals out and shovel dirt over them to prevent forest fires. I gather up my things, bow to Beauty in the night-time, and return to the electric glow of the house.

Winds of Spirit is here!

IT’S HERE! The long awaited Hay House Book, Winds of Spirit is on shelves and I can’t wait to flip through it’s pages… In Winds of Spirit, shamanic healer Renee Baribeau shares the rich mythology and cultural significance of wind, while also presenting a powerful system to help you recognize and utilize the subtle energies in your life to heal yourself.

I cannot say enough good stuff about this author! Renee is a generous and frequent contributor to her Wind Clan page on Facebook, an accessible teacher and author.

Experiential practices including wind breath, wind bath, wind knots, and more…ancient wisdom on how to invoke wind deities—gods and goddesses from around the world—and the cardinal winds from the four quadrants of the sky. I’m so excited to dive in and see what happens. Order this week to receive Amazing GIFTS from the Heart. #windsofspirit http://thepracticalshaman.com/winds-of-spirit-book/